San Antonio, TX — Filming the police is entirely legal in every state. However, all too often, we will see police officers overstep their authority and arrest, attack, and assault innocent people for the constitutionally protected act of documenting their behavior in public. An exclusive video submitted to the Free Thought Project this week shows just how dangerous a cop's ignorance of the law can be.
The video below is disturbing for many reasons. However, the fact that it is part of a trend that seems to be growing is perhaps the most disturbing aspect. In spite of police officers getting publicly chastised on YouTube and Facebook for attacking people for filming, they continue to do so—most of the time, with impunity.
The uncle of the young man in the video below reached out to TFTP with this video. He explains that his nephew had done nothing wrong and was merely filming a traffic stop—from his own property.
According to our source, his nephew pulled out his phone to record the stop which was happening just outside of his home. He began filming because he noticed the officers being rough with his friends.
It has been clearly established that all Americans have the right to record the police. For an officer of the law to remain willingly ignorant of this precedent is at best, dereliction of duty, and at worst, unlawful deprivation of rights. Either way, these cops were in the wrong.
As the video begins, the young man is standing on his own porch, filming the officers conducting a stop on his friends. When one of the officers sees him filming, he snaps.
In only a few seconds, the officer has his gun drawn and is allegedly committing aggravated assault with a deadly weapon. As he seemingly had no probable cause, nor any reason to pull his gun, this officer was entirely out of line.
Naturally, the officer claims that the man filming caused him to fear for his safety and this will undoubtedly be used to justify his actions if any litigation is brought against him.
"Come here!" the officer yells as he aims a pistol at a man whose only crime was allegedly filming.
Likely due to the fact that he has a pistol pointed at him, the man filming doesn't immediately walk toward the cop who is threatening his life.
"What part of 'come here' don't you understand!" yells the officer as he then physically moves the man filming up against the wall.
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"Dude, we ain't messin with y'all," the cop says as he then grabs the camera from the man's hand and proceeds to handcuff him.
"This is my home right here," says the man filming.
"I don't care," replies the officer. "You don't walk up on police like that."
Although the video is brief, never do we see this man walk up on police, he is simply standing on his own property—filming. But this was irrelevant to this officer.
"Why are you going to do that to me? I am on my property," asks the man.
"Shut up dude," replies the cop.
"You don't walk up on police officers like that," the cop says again. However, as the video shows, that did not happen.
"I didn't walk up, I was right here," explains the man.
Once the officer realizes the camera is still rolling, he then grabs it and turns it off. The video ends here.
TFTP has reached out to the SAPD to inquire about this video. However, we have yet to receive any word back.
Below is an example of why there is such a divide between the police and the policed.